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Cyclo-cross & MTB to merge?

Apr 12, 2009
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I've heard this idea somewhere, and i find it really interesting.

Cyclo-cross lacks internationality & competition
MTB lacks popularity & money

Cyclo-cross is insanely popular in Belgium, with a lot of money going on. MTB is much more international.

I believe the two could be really complementary.
Of course you have to adjust the calendars of both sports to make the combination possible. And why not change the duration of both events to 1u30?

Sven Nys ended 9th in the 2008 olympics MTB. Hermida did som cyclo-cross races last year.
Could this be a possible future for these sports?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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When you say "merge", do you mean merge the calendars so the events would take place together...potentially doubling exposure, support, etc?

Or do you mean the merging of the actual disciplines...MTB+CX = MXC Most Extreme Challenge? :D

I admit that it would make for a very cool World Cup weekend to take in both disciplines at the same location, but given they traditionally happen at different points in the calendar wouldn't it be a bit difficult?
 
Apr 12, 2009
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OK, didn't make it clear enough. Merge maybe isn't the correct term.
I rather meant keeping the both disciplines, but with all the same riders, both MTB & CX in 1u30 races, maybe 1 WC Classification, divide the season in a MTB and a cyclo-cross part.

But the idea of your MXC look nice too :D
 
Buffalo Soldier said:
OK, didn't make it clear enough. Merge maybe isn't the correct term.
I rather meant keeping the both disciplines, but with all the same riders, both MTB & CX in 1u30 races, maybe 1 WC Classification, divide the season in a MTB and a cyclo-cross part.

But the idea of your MXC look nice too :D

I think they are significantly different in equipment and intensity level so that they should exist separately from each other. MTB in all of it's various forms is a participant sport but not a spectator sport, while cyclocross is still a good participant sport it ranks with the velodrome as a spectator sport. True it is big in Belgium, but while, as has been pointed out, the level of competition is not there yet, it is growing by leaps and bounds in the US. Maybe it will continue, maybe it will go the way of MTB racing, more of a grassroots thing.
 
Sep 22, 2009
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I find cyclocross and MTB two completely different sports and most importantly with different fans and atmosphere. You don't want to merge road and mtb either, do you? Just sounds like a weird idea. I think many mtb fans are not all that excited about cyclocross and vice versa.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I don't see the attraction or need for this in Europe. Cross is unbelievably huge and has a well-established winter schedule. Promoters and riders are making money. For as long as this is the case I can't see any reason why 'Cross would want to dilute their effort and their product to prop up MTB XC. there are cross riders who ride and race MTB XC. they seem perfectly happy with the differentiation. for me, it's a non-starter.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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LugHugger said:
I don't see the attraction or need for this in Europe. Cross is unbelievably huge and has a well-established winter schedule.
It's huge in 40% of belgium only. Maybe rather big in Czech Republic. It used to be big in Switzerland, Italy & the Netherlands also, but that's all in the past.
Truth is that Cyclo-cross never was this small.

Same thing could be said about MTB, which was a lot bigger 10 years ago.
 
The idea was brought up by Nys back in 2009.

Though I appreciate Sven's love for the sport and his bringing new ideas, I can't agree with this. He's actally the only one to combine both at the top level.

He forgets that the road is still the best preparation for cross. All cross riders are riding on the road - at different level -, they have to. I would love to see again riders who combine cross and road at the top level.

Just consider these comments by the great Erwin Vervecken:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uffu2PksCak
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Echoes said:
The idea was brought up by Nys back in 2009.

Though I appreciate Sven's love for the sport and his bringing new ideas, I can't agree with this. He's actally the only one to combine both at the top level. He forgets that the road is still the best preparation for cross. All cross riders are riding on the road - at different level -, they have to. I would love to see again riders who combine cross and road at the top level.

Just consider these comments by the great Erwin Vervecken:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uffu2PksCak

Not true. Well maybe true in Europe, but in the US quite a few of the big names mix/race both disciplines. Especially successful with it have been the women. Katie Compton, Georgia Gould, and Ryan Trebon come to mind...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Buffalo Soldier said:
It's huge in 40% of belgium only. Maybe rather big in Czech Republic. It used to be big in Switzerland, Italy & the Netherlands also, but that's all in the past.
Truth is that Cyclo-cross never was this small.

Same thing could be said about MTB, which was a lot bigger 10 years ago.

Name ANY MTB event which could claim to have been attended by 20,000 spectators on a single day. I can only think of Fort William WC DH which might come close. As you are probably aware, this is the number of spectators who were at the Koppencross this weekend. The truth is MTB was never as popular with spectators as cross.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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LugHugger said:
Name ANY MTB event which could claim to have been attended by 20,000 spectators on a single day. I can only think of Fort William WC DH which might come close. As you are probably aware, this is the number of spectators who were at the Koppencross this weekend. The truth is MTB was never as popular with spectators as cross.

Completely agree. But as the OP stated MTB is a bigger participant sport...so I think that's where the attraction would lie in trying to combine them.

For example, we have an MTB race here that sells out for participants in less than 60 seconds after entrance fees go on sale...to the tune of over 17 000 racers. It's gotten so big they do an "enthusiast" pre-race the day before with around 7 000 racers...that sells out too.

I can only begin to fathom the logistics of it, but imagine a race weekend that would draw 20 000+ spectators for an amazing cross race PLUS the 20 000+ racers for the MTB race. Probably undoable but from sponsor/promotional/business perspective I imagine it's an attractive concept.
 
Sep 17, 2010
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flyor64 said:
MTB+CX = MXC Most Extreme Challenge? :D

I admit that it would make for a very cool World Cup weekend to take in both disciplines at the same location, but given they traditionally happen at different points in the calendar wouldn't it be a bit difficult?

I really like this idea, it maybe very interesting, but as 1-time action, as it may be very difficult to find a date suiting both to MTB and cyclo-cross riders...
But as a special promo event, may be great, especially if both courses could be open to public for follow-up rides and with possibility to test bikes...
 
Djernis never won the Pro Cyclocross Worlds but the Amateur one. OK for Frischknecht but that's all past now. One of the De Vlaeminck's (or perhaps even both of them :p) said T. Frischknecht wasted a great cross career, racing MTB.


Nys' idea was to merge both World Cups and to give riders the chance to choose their equipment at the Olympics.

Who in the current peloton could get points in World Cup events in both disciplines other than Nys?

Aernouts is not even close (just a stage in the mtb TF - Has he raced an mtb WC event this year?) and Stybar still has a lot to improve (as discussed in the other thread).


And I still definitely think that the road is the best preparation for cross. As Vervecken puts it: better stage races and classics than criteriums (and Vervecken did race some mtb events !).

Buffalo Soldier said:
It's huge in 40% of belgium only.

Which 40%?
 
Buffalo Soldier said:
It's huge in 40% of belgium only. Maybe rather big in Czech Republic. It used to be big in Switzerland, Italy & the Netherlands also, but that's all in the past.
Truth is that Cyclo-cross never was this small.

You are exactly right. I wonder if that is why the UCI tilted their points formula to favor the U.S. I'd argue it's bigger in the U.S. now. Lots bigger.

Don't worry though, USAC will drive consumers away just like they did with MTB.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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DirtyWorks said:
You are exactly right. I wonder if that is why the UCI tilted their points formula to favor the U.S. I'd argue it's bigger in the U.S. now. Lots bigger.

Don't worry though, USAC will drive consumers away just like they did with MTB.

Lots of retail information states that cyclocross bikes have had the largest increase in sales of any cat of bike. Cycocross promoters are saying that it is the fastest growing participant sport in the US. Cyclocross has all the things that racers and promoters love small scale everything. Races are in a small area that allows spectators to see the whole event(without a helicopter) allows promoters to secure a venue without lots of community/police involvement and expense. The short loops and stretched out group allow lots of equipment to be used which is a retail dream and allows SUV loads of excuses by bike geeks everywhere.. The season is relatively short so you are training 9 months out of the year..so any race that takes place outside the "real season" doesn't really count. Another big benefit is that lapped riders still get to finish so all the slow rolling blobs that get dropped on hills or get pulled from crits after they lose contact are allowed to finish up with a confusing amount of self worth. So much mayhem that nobody can figure out just how bad you are. Did I mention that knobby tires make even the fattest,slowest,oldest guys feel young again..if only for 3 minutes after the starting gun goes off
 
fatandfast said:
Lots of retail information states that cyclocross bikes have had the largest increase in sales of any cat of bike. Cycocross promoters are saying that it is the fastest growing participant sport in the US. Cyclocross has all the things that racers and promoters love small scale everything. Races are in a small area that allows spectators to see the whole event(without a helicopter) allows promoters to secure a venue without lots of community/police involvement and expense.

I hear the same thing in the retail channel. But, this is a narrow and expensive channel. More expensive than 'fixies.'

Given the number of people showing up at a local 'cross training ride versus 10 years ago, for sure it's much bigger. I'd argue that the places it's most popular are areas with very little USAC presence. See that? No USAC and lots of growth may be related.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Not merge, but this gave me a great idea for a new series. Cycling tri-athalon. Start with some crazy single-track, switch bikes for an hour of cross, then again for a few laps on a crit circuit. Might even throw in track? That is the way to merge...
 
Buffalo Soldier said:
Flanders (4 million people of 10m in belgium)

Right what I thought. Then check out your figures:

Dutch speaking community: 6.6m inh. (60+%)
True Flanders (West- + East- provinces, roughly): 2.5m inh. (25%)


Have you been to the cyclocross of the Citadelle these last two years?

4200 people were there in 2009 and still more than 4000 this year (have the feeling there were more than last year and in any case, Impens said it was a success).

367 858 viewers on Sporza in 2009; 272 107 for the highlights on the newt day.
58 000 viewers on RTBF and 214 886 watched the highlights !
http://sport.be.msn.com/cyclocrossnamur/2009/fr/nieuws/article.html?Article_ID=395071

Every year, the most popular cross is the Druivenveldrit in Overijse. And there is always a pack of French-speaking people there.

Truth is cyclocross is popular in all Belgium.

That's as silly as saying rugby is only popular in Southwest France.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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True, I was wrong about 4mil, it's 6. Dumb mistake...
But I was talking about the sport being huge. And that's only in Flanders...

TheDude said:
Not merge, but this gave me a great idea for a new series. Cycling tri-athalon. Start with some crazy single-track, switch bikes for an hour of cross, then again for a few laps on a crit circuit. Might even throw in track? That is the way to merge...
:D
 

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